Using co-occurrence models for placename disambiguation

Overell, Simon and Rüger, Stefan (2008). Using co-occurrence models for placename disambiguation. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 22(2) pp. 265–287.



This paper describes the generation of a model capturing information on how placenames co-occur together. The advantages of the co-occurrence model over traditional gazetteers are discussed and the problem of placename disambiguation is presented as a case study.

We begin by outlining the problem of ambiguous placenames. We demonstrate how analysis of Wikipedia can be used in the generation of a co-occurrence model. The accuracy of our model is compared to a handcrafted ground truth; then we evaluate alternative methods of applying this model to the disambiguation of placenames in free text (using the GeoCLEF evaluation forum). We conclude by showing how the inclusion of placenames in both the text and geographic parts of a query provides the maximum mean average precision and outline the benefits of a co-occurrence model as a data source for the wider field of geographic information retrieval (GIR).

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